Defense Minister estimates total cost of Henoko relocation at more than 350 billion yen

March 14, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

At the Upper House Foreign Affairs Defense Committee meeting on March 13, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera stated that the total cost of moving U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station to Henoko, Nago, would be at least 350 billion yen. It is the first time that the government has commented on the total estimated cost for the project since Japan and the United States agreed in 2006 that they would build V-shaped runway in Henoko.

In addition to the 231.1 billion yen for the reclamation cost, the defense minister explained that it would cost additional budget for such as environment protection, developing the airport facilities and upgrading the land portion of Camp Schwab. In the application that they submitted to the Okinawa Prefectural Government the Okinawa Defense Bureau estimated the landfill construction cost at 231 billion and 87 million yen.

With respect to Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima’s request to stop the operation of the Futenma base within five years, Onodera declined to comment. Referring to a new special agreement on environmental protection that will supplement the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said, “The agreement will not include the noise issue generated by aircraft flying out the U.S. base.” He suggested that Japan and the United States would not negotiate on the noise problem. Foreign Minister and Defense Minister were answering questions from Yukihisa Fujita (Democratic Party) and Satoshi Inoue (Communist Party).

(English translation by T&CT)

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